How to Choose the Right Skylight: 9 Factors to Consider When Installing a Skylight

Did you know that glass skylights in Sydney can bring in three times as much light into a room as a vertical window?

You can use them to illuminate low-light areas and make a small room feel larger by giving it much-needed dimension.

Skylights cool down a space during hot weather and increase the flow of fresh air in a home while reducing your lighting costs. They also make a room visually appealing.

aluminium framed glass skylights in sydney

They are ideal for homes with few or no windows. And are especially necessary for buildings whose vertical windows are obstructed by tall buildings and other things such as trees that keep out natural light.

These benefits make skylights such a popular home decor installation.

However, choosing the perfect skylight for your house is not easy because there is a wide range to choose from.

You need as much as $1691 to install a skylight. That’s a lot of money to spend on the wrong decision.

Before you make a choice, you should have an idea of what is available in the market.

Here are some factors that will help you make a perfect choice.

  1. Purpose

Skylights serve different purposes in the home, depending on their design.

For example, if you want to let out bad odors and humidity while improving your home’s ventilation, a venting skylight that you can open and close is the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you need a skylight for more light and a view of the sky, a non -venting skylight will work just fine.

If you are worried about heat transmission and retention, choose a skylight made of double-paned glass glazing with some argon gas in between.

These types of skylights minimize heat gain in Summer and keep out harmful UV rays. In winter, they prevent heat loss keeping your home warm and reducing your heating costs.

So the first question to ask yourself as you shop around for a skylight is, what do I need it for? That will narrow down your choices significantly and guide you in the right direction.

  1. Type


There are many designs and styles of skylights in the market. They are differentiated by the style of construction, their benefits, and what powers them.

Some examples of skylights you will come across are:

Dome-shaped skylights 

These skylights are made of flexible plastic and shaped into a dome.

They allow the even distribution of natural light into a room and highlight particular features in a house, such as swimming pools, gardens, and sculptures.

They also provide better drainage, which prevents the build-up of moisture or debris on the skylight, helping you to keep it clean.

Domed skylights are often installed over lobbies, performance areas, and indoor gardens.

Tubular skylights

Tubular skylights are ideal for tight spaces. You can fit them into spaces where other kinds of skylight will not fit.

They are made of a reflective tube that directs light from the roof to the ceiling, angling it past any other installations such as electric wiring or vents.

Although they do not give you a view of the sky, they let in light and are ideal for very dark spaces such as lobbies, hallways, closets, and pantries.

Barrel vault skylights

If you are looking for a skylight to install over a walkway or canopy, a barrel vault skylight is a perfect choice.

It covers as much as 80 percent of space and is an economical way of lighting up a spacious dark space.

These lights are often installed over lobbies, canopies, and passageways and are ideal for commercial buildings such as malls, institutions, and parking spaces.

Custom skylights

Custom skylights are beautiful installations used to improve the aesthetics of a house while increasing ventilation and letting in light.

These skylights come with different types of glazing and installation parts, such as reflective shafts that give a variety of interesting effects.

You can use them to improve the aesthetics of your home and increase the light transmission from outside due to their angles.

Pyramid skylights

It is possible to install a skylight on a flat roof, and a pyramid skylight is one of the best designs to use.

They offer various pitch or slope options and sit well on a flat roof giving it aesthetic appeal both from the inside and outside.

  1. Shape and size

Skylights come in different shapes, such as oval, rectangular, circular, and diamond.

Keep in mind that the shape and size of the skylight you choose depends on the section of the roof on which you want to install it and the effect you desire.

Your roof structure has lots of ridges and house installations, such as vents or electrical wiring that will affect the shape of the skylight you pick.

The material also matters because plastic is easier to shape into different forms than glass.

What you choose has to fit just right with your home design without interfering with any surrounding installations.

The amount of light you get from a skylight is also determined by its size.

It is recommended that your skylight is no more than 5 percent of the floor size of a room with many windows.

And if the room has few windows, it should not exceed 15 percent of the floor area.

Your contractor can advise you on the best shape and size of skylight to choose after measuring the space in which you want to install it.

  1. Position

Where you situate your skylight will determine the amount of light you receive into your home during different times of the day.

You can increase the passive solar heating capabilities of your skylight by positioning it in the right place. It will also help you control how the skylight affects the temperature of your home.

Usually, northwards facing skylights give consistent illumination but keep the home reasonably cool.

If your skylight faces southwards, you can expect high temperatures, which may only be to your advantage in winter but a pain in the summer.

However, you can counteract the effect of too much heat or light from your skylight by putting up blinds, using tinted glazing, or covering it with removable exterior shades.

  1. Glazing

Glazing is the plastic or glass panel held within a frame in a skylight.

Different materials are used to make glazings, such as acrylic, polycarbonate, and glass. You can also pick single or double pane glazing.

Some panels also come with Low-E emission coatings that block harmful infra-red heat rays from streaming into your home and increase the energy efficiency of your skylight.

When choosing glazing for your skylight, pick one with the lowest solar heat gain co-efficiency to ensure you block as much solar heat from your home as possible.

Overall, glass glazing is best for skylights because it is durable and provides clear views of the outside.

And if you want to reduce the chances of breakage or harmful UV rays transmission, investing in skylights made of laminated or tempered glass with a special coating is the way to go.

If you insist on using plastic glazing, consider the fact that it easily gets brittle or discolored.

It also lacks UV protection, meaning installing a plastic skylight is likely to damage your furniture and endanger your health.

  1. Operability

What will power your skylight? You may choose to operate it manually, but electric and solar-powered skylights are better options.

They allow you to remotely control or program your skylight whenever you need to open and close it.

On the other hand, manually operated skylights require you to open or close them using a cord attached to them.

They save on electricity costs but may be cumbersome to operate.

Therefore, if you want to install a skylight you can open, choose a vented skylight as the purpose of fixed skylights is only illumination.

And if power consumption is a problem, install a solar-powered venting skylight to cut down on operating costs.

  1. Strength

A self-cleaning, leak-proof, impact-resistant skylight is essential.

Skylights are exposed to the elements and debris such as leaves and dust that require them to self-clean at all times to avoid discoloration.

Investing in cutting-edge materials such as NEAT glass will ensure your skylight remains clean due to its titanium dioxide coating that keeps debris from sticking on it.

Impact resistance also matters because your skylight may be exposed to items such as rocks or hail that may break it.

You can use double-paned tempered glass on your skylight to ensure such scenarios do not happen.

A type of glazing that gives you impact resistance and is easy to keep clean is Clean, Quiet, and Safe glass.

It will protect your skylight from weather damage and moisture build-up, extending its life span.

  1. Ease of installation

Although they are ideal for sloped roofs, skylights are often difficult to install because they require accurate measurements to prevent leakage and guarantee durability.

That’s why you need an expert contractor to do it for you.

In as much as you would like to, you can’t install a skylight anywhere you please. Several factors have to come into consideration.

For example, it should fit in a roof area free of obstructions such as wiring and vents.

And you may have to choose between having a view and accessing natural lighting based on where you install it.

But the good news is that you can put up a skylight anywhere with the right equipment.

It can sit directly under a roof, such as an office located beneath an attic or over a room at the bottom of a multi-storey building.

You only need to pick skylights that come with flexible materials you can fit in any space, strong fastening systems, and angle adapters.

These items make it easy to install your skylight, cutting down on the time and energy necessary to fit them onto your roof and guaranteeing durability.

  1. Cost

Skylights prices vary depending on the type you choose for your home.

The cost of a skylight includes installation costs and any future bills it may incur you, such as maintenance costs.

You also have to invest in high-quality skylights. Otherwise, inferior ones will lose heat in winter and let in unnecessary summer heat, overworking your HVAC system and incurring extra electrical costs.

Therefore, it’s best from scratch to invest in an Energy Star-approved skylight that will give you superior energy performance.

Ensuring it’s made of high-quality glazing and framing material is also essential.

But most importantly, using an expert contractor to set it up will save you from any future issues such as leakage and extend its lifespan.


These are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect skylight.

There are many innovative and exciting designs to choose from in the market, and it’s easy to get confused.

But if you are guided by these factors, you will pick the right skylight for your home.


How Much Will it Cost to Install a Skylight?